Rock climbing isn’t as hard as it seems.
It usually kicks off with a 1st time try out with some friends, or during a team building activity organize by your school/ company. But if the interest grows and you find yourself doing it more frequently, it means this really rocks your boat and can evolve into a hobby.
However a common question I get from people is, how did you transit from a beginner climber to eventually started doing it outdoors in natural rock?
Simple, go learn lead climbing.
It honestly isn’t as professional and intimidating as it looks. But the liberation and new found physical and mental training you get from lead climbing vs top rope, though scarier, is truly fulfilling.
Cez, my new partner in crime from etramping.com for climbing took up his lead climbing class over in Bangkok where we were base for 1 month remotely.
We were privileged to do it with Pack, the owner of Rock Domain Climbing Gym located over in Bangna area in Bangkok.
Not all the gyms in Bangkok offer such private and personal lead climbing training as what Pack from Rock Domain did, so we really had time to learn at our pace and work on areas that needs more attention and practise.
One amazing thing we found out from Pack is that in Rock Domain Climbing Gym,they even provide 1st time beginners to the gym a private instructor to teach them the basics of climbing. That is really useful as a lot of people are deterred from climbing more as they feel that they might lack a climbing partner or belayer.
Alternatively, it is more frequent to find gyms with auto belay system so that solo climbers are able to still enjoy climbing without worrying about the need to have someone who them to belay them.
So lets go straight to the main crux – lead climbing class for Beginners.
Lead Climbing Private Class Begins
1. Learn the basic of tying the figure of eight safety knot
Tying a figure of 8 safety knot is the basics of rock climbing, and it is even more important to do it properly when you do lead climbing, given there will be times where you will do a big fall, and thats when the safety points on climber and by the belayer is highly critical.
Basic rule: Always check each other, figure of 8 for the climber and that the belay device ( with the traditional normal ATC with carabiner or using an assisted belay device ABD like a gri gri)
2. Safety Lead Belay Practices
One more important thing to note is the amount of loose rope ( or commonly term as slack) before the climber starts. Always remember it is important to have enough for your climber to clip into the 1st clip, as you will not be holding the rope and feeding it at the beginning, but spotting your climber.
Interested in learning about the full list of Rock Climbing Gyms in Bangkok?
3. Learning how to do proper clipping in and avoiding back clips or z clips
Learning the proper way of clipping in helps to save your time and energy.
Most of the time as lead climbers, the challenge comes when you are so high away from the last clip, and when you start clipping in, you don’t have much time to hang on the rest of the body.
4. Practicing lead climbing on easy routes to get the hang of it
Once you learn all the basics of safety checks and clipping in, put those shoes on and then time to hit the wall!
Pack was an amazing guy, very patient and obliging, teaching us the procedures/steps and precautions of catching a lead fall when belaying someone. Even I learn new things like static belay and dynamic belay.
5. Warm down and stretching with resistant bands ( gets rid of soreness and aches)
After a long 3 hour session of climbing, or whatever amount of time you take/ require, it is always recommended to do proper cool down and stretching. You can do the usual stretching on your own, or use the assistance of a resistant band.